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Nutritional Disorders

Nutritional Disorders services offered in Raleigh, NC
Nutritional Disorders

Nutritional Disorders services offered in Raleigh, NC

Children who eat fewer than 20 different foods are at serious risk of nutrient deficiencies leading to underdevelopment. If you worry about your child’s eating habits, visit Katherine Peppers, DNP, CPNP-PC, CPMHS, and the team at Behavioral & Developmental Pediatrics in Raleigh, North Carolina. Katherine and her highly experienced colleagues can identify and treat nutritional disorders to help your child get the nutrition they need. Call the office to discuss your child’s eating problems or schedule a consultation using the online booking feature today.

We Are NOT Accepting New Patients At This Time.

Nutritional Disorders Q & A

What are nutritional disorders?

Nutritional disorders occur when children don’t receive all the nutrients they require from their diet.

Poor nutrition is sometimes due to poverty or an underlying medical problem that prevents someone from extracting the nutrients they need from their food. Behavioral & Developmental Pediatrics specializes in diagnosing and treating mental health-related nutritional disorders.

What nutritional disorders might affect my child?

Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) is an eating disorder where children refuse to eat certain foods, limit how much they eat, or try to avoid eating. Children can often be picky eaters and refuse to eat foods they dislike or that don’t appeal to them, but ARFID is a serious disorder that can cause severe nutrient deficiencies.

Children may limit their diet to under 20 foods — significantly fewer than they need for proper nutrition. The reasons they have for not wanting to eat include:

  • Sensitivity to food’s appearance, smell, texture, or color
  • Fear of nausea and vomiting
  • Fear of swallowing difficulties or choking
  • Having little or no interest in eating

Children with ARFID consume too few nutrients and calories, affecting their growth and development.

Other disorders can affect children’s nutrition, including the well-known eating disorder anorexia nervosa. This condition develops when children — usually but not always adolescents — restrict their food intake severely because they believe they’re overweight.

This belief persists even when they are extremely underweight and suffer potentially life-threatening consequences from lack of nutrition. Bulimia nervosa can also affect nutrient absorption, but young people with this condition eat and then purge by making themselves vomit and/or taking laxatives.

Can a child develop a nutritional disorder because of a mental health condition?

A nutritional disorder like ARFID can develop for several reasons, typically a combination of genetics, biological influences, and sociocultural factors. They can also affect people with psychiatric conditions, such as:

  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Behavioral & Developmental Pediatrics offers specialized care to children and adolescents with nutritional disorders.

They’ll likely require medical supervision and help from a nutritionist alongside talk therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) can be particularly helpful. Family therapy is often beneficial, too, helping you understand your child’s disorder and learning the best ways to support them.

Call Behavioral & Developmental Pediatrics today for an expert nutritional disorder diagnosis and effective treatment. You can also request a consultation using the online booking feature.